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Identification and Functional Expression of the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier

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Science  24 May 2012:
1218530
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218530

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Abstract

The transport of pyruvate, the end product of glycolysis, into mitochondria is an essential process that provides the organelle with a major oxidative fuel. Although the existence of a specific mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) has been anticipated, its molecular identity remained unknown. We report that MPC is a heterocomplex formed by two members of a family of previously uncharacterized membrane proteins that are conserved from yeast to mammals. Members of the MPC family were found in the inner mitochondrial membrane, and yeast mutants lacking MPC proteins showed severe defects in mitochondrial pyruvate uptake. Coexpression of mouse MPC1 and MPC2 in Lactococcus lactis was sufficient to allow transport of pyruvate across the membrane. These observations firmly establish these proteins as essential components of the MPC.

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